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Sport 17: Spring 1996

When the Neighbourhood Goes to Seed

page 76

When the Neighbourhood Goes to Seed

Gepetto moved next door a week ago
and since then,
the neighbourhood has been in an uproar.

One small example. He asked Lynne
for the longhandled secateurs and
set about carving the hedges
between our properties
to a flock of birds.
He got to the end of the hedge
where he put down the shears,
stroked the back of the last bird
and the entire hedge
flew up in a beating of wings
and parting glances.
The small brown twigs
Gepetto organised into sparrows
and these nervously hopped and twitched over the lawn.
Lynne put out a bread dish.

Later, putting the milk bottles out
I saw the Gales at the end of the street—
Trish, Blake, Hans and Millicent
wrapped in grey blankets.
Blake was pointing to
their house
flying in a vee, which
suddenly dipped
and flew eastwards.
Blake looked devastated.
His hand fell at his side.
He shrugged at me, and said,
‘What will I tell Sophie?’